Before the United States and Cuba could seal a historic diplomatic rapprochement brokered in 18 months of secret talks, they first had to hide a pregnancy.
Late last year, when President Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba were only weeks away from a stunning announcement that they were ready to end a half-century of hostility, White House officials negotiating the thaw learned of a problem that could derail their clandestine work.
A surreal subplot to the negotiations — a covert plan to allow a Cuban prisoner held in the United States to artificially inseminate his wife in Havana — had succeeded. But the woman, who is famous in Cuba, was now visibly pregnant. White House officials found themselves in the bizarre position of pressing the Cuban government to keep her out of the public eye for fear that her appearance would raise suspicions and upend the talks at a critical moment.